About The Project

Project Scope

Rotuman descendants living in diaspora have a deep desire to learn, appreciate, preserve and respect our shared heritage. Using 360-degree photography, interactive digital design and storytelling, this project will take website visitors on a virtual tour of Rotuma with interactive insights into cultural heritage, Rotuman wisdom, Rotuman language, geographic & ecological highlights, and personal stories.

Urgency of the Project – Preserving an Endangered Language

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed the Rotuman language as one of the most endangered languages in the world, with only 15,000 speakers globally. Approximately 1,500 Rotuman people currently live on the island. To date, it is undocumented how many individuals of Rotuman heritage exist around the world.

Urgency of the Project – Climate Change

Scientists are increasingly concerned that small island nations in the Pacific are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change as rising sea levels, storms, and coral bleaching increase due to environmental change. In Fiji alone, more than 40 low-lying communities are earmarked to be relocated to upper ground because of rapid sea level rise. {Source: Saber Salem: “Climate Change and the Sinking Islands, Jan. 09, 2020, e-International Relations}

Community building

One of the aims of the project is to identify and connect the international community of Rotuman-descendants. Through these connections, we seek to collaboratively explore our shared experiences in diaspora, knowledge, wisdom and shared desire to honor, respect, and preserve Rotuman cultural heritage. The ultimate purpose of community-building is to create space for our children, and grandchildren to feel welcome to seek connections to their Rotuman heritage.

Sustainability

We anticipate that through the development of this project, we may create a replicable model of cultural preservation and storytelling for Pasifika peoples, which is crucial given rising ocean levels affecting low-lying communities throughout Oceania.

The founders of the project have a long-term vision and commitment to seeing this passion project come to life and to continue as a gift to all Rotuman people. Moving forward through the project, we seek partners to share their knowledge, time and talents to keep The Rotuma Project a living and dynamic curation of cultural content. In the future, we hope to engage Rotuman youth so they may also gain valuable cultural and mentored professional experience in working on the project.

Team

This project will be spearheaded by Jonathan Fong & Kathy Weber-Bates, first cousins descended from Saolei/Savlei. Jonathan brings a wealth of professional videography, photography, digital design and humor to the project. Kathy brings two decades of professional experience in journalism, storytelling, videography, graphic design, and public relations to the project. Together, these Rotuman cousins aim to help create an interactive virtual tour of Rotuma for all of our kaunohoga to learn, honor, respect, appreciate, and preserve.

Consideration

We acknowledge the contributions of our ancestors, the beautiful potential of the next generation, and we share our respect for the land, the ocean, our Rotuman Chiefs, leaders, and our kaunohoga around the world. To God be all glory and praise, through whom all things are possible.

NEW VIDEOS COMING SOON!!

NEW VIDEOS COMING SOON!!

We will be releasing all new videos soon and wanted you to be the first to know that our YouTube channel is where all new videos will launch. Please subscribe today so you don’t miss out. Subscribe

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Noa’ia e Huḁg mäeav hanisi

Noa’ia e Huḁg mäeav hanisi

Huge heartfelt thank you to our hosts in Losa, Uncle Tom & Auntie Irao, Ieli and Grace for all of the hard work and love that went into welcoming us and hosting us as a launching point for our inaugural video shoot in Rotuma. Thank you to Gagaj Tigarea and the...

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Lifelong Dream: Visiting Rotuma

Lifelong Dream: Visiting Rotuma

In case you haven’t seen some of our updates on our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels, we are so grateful to have made good on our lifelong dream of visiting our ancestral homeland of Rotuma. We invite you to join along behind-the-scenes as The Rotuma Project...

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NEWS from The Rotuma Project

NEWS from The Rotuma Project

We just wanted to send a heartfelt FAIAKSE’EA (THANK YOU) to all of our generous donors who have shared their hard-earned dollars with us to launch The Rotuma Project. We know that there are so many great causes out there and most of our donors have many obligations...

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“Noåia ‘e hanisi. Alalum makikia.”

Thank you for your interest in the development of The Rotuma Project. If you would like to support the project, please contact us.

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